There was an article in the RM News about the trip, apparently with some incorrect statements about Mike Prosser's (owner of Downriver Equipment in Wheat Ridge) involvement. Apparently he was reported to have flipped a couple of times and left the trip because of some nasty swims. Mike's correction was originally posted on the Grand Canyon Private Boater's Assoc. (GCPBA) list, here it is:
Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2005 11:21 AM
Subject: Blue Nile - Facts vs Fiction
The information contained in Christina's posting is correct and accurate. I
thank Christina for taking the time to get the information right.
With regard to the Rocky Mountain News...... Their initial article did say
what is related below (at the very end of this eamil). Unfortunately it is
simply incorrect. In discussions with the Rocky Mountain News, they
concurred that they had incorrectly reported the information (by the way
there was no "researching of sources" - the article was based on a single
telephone interview with Pasquale.). In discussions with the editor, I
asked them not to print a retraction, but rather suggested that they do a
new article. Which they did - see the September 11, 2004 edition. That
article, which is about Pasquale's life and adventures, included the
following: "It was here that a huge wave swept Prosser overboard and into
the river's black depths before he fought back to the surface." and "Due to
time restraints, though, Prosser signed on for only a month, Hoppe for even less." These two statements are, in fact, true.
The following is some additional info that might be of interest .....
The expedition through the whitewater in Ethiopia was comprised of Pasquale Scaturro (expediton leader), Gordon Brown (safety kayak), and me (the other boat for the first 250 miles). Also, Kurt Hoppe came along for the first couple of days and Michele H'Luiller (photographer from Spain) joined us at the Sharfartec bridge. In addition, we took a cook, an interpreter, a helper, and two Ethiopian Army special forces guards (nothing like having an AK47 as the first item out of the dry box).
With regard to scouting ..... there were two helicopter fly overs (with
filming) and numerous hikes and short boat excursions.
I did get swept off in a nasty little Class IV - result of being off-line a
little bit and a school bus sized wave (maybe not that big, but it seemed so
at the time.) Damn near drowned & lost my pants, too. The good news is
that my three passengers stayed in the boat and were all OK. They managed to get me back in just as we dropped into the next rapid.
There was one flip on the trip - Michele was driving at the time. It was
after I left, so don't know the details, except that all were OK.
(Although, I think Michele decided that his boating days were over. To put
it in perspective, his boating career had just started five days earlier.)
I left the expedition after approximately 6 weeks in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, a month and one-half was all I felt that I could be away from Down River. As a side note ..... the book Mystery of the Nile (Putnam) says that I left because my visa was about to expire - also, not true. (My visa is still valid - just goes to show you that the can't believe everything you read.)
With regard to the movie ..... there are two scenes (I won't say which) that
weren't shot on location. Both are re-enactments, but are based on actual
events. See if you can find both (one will be easy for boaters).
I enjoyed the movie (went to a press screening last week). Hope you get a chance to see it, and enjoy it too. Ethiopia was a wonderful place. The
people were delightful and friendly, the country was beautiful, and the
river was wild and scenic. Lot's of animals - birds, monkeys, baboons,
snakes, crocs, hippos, etc. By-the-way, I liked the hippos the least .....
they would submerge and you wouldn't know if they were coming towards the boat, or not. It was a little weird.
There are pictures from the trip on Down River's website -
. Look for the tab on the home page that says Blue Nile Photos. (Sorry, no captions on the pics.)
If any of you have questions about the trip, feel free to call or stop by
Down River. By the way, the oar blade with the croc teeth marks is in the
store. My hat is off to Sawyer for making equipment that is "croc proof".
Here are some other things about the film --AH
Some film facts:
Length: 47 minutes
Director(s): Jordi Llompart
Producer(s): Jordi Llompart
Distributor: MacGillivray Freeman Films (the same company that brought
Did You Know . . .
a.. Expedition leader Pasquale Scaturro lives in Lakewood, Colo.
b.. This was the first time in history a team successfully completed
a source-to-sea descent of the Nile.
Some insider facts from Mike Prosser:
a.. Mike didn't flip, he rowed his own boat and spent about 6 weeks (250
miles on the river) in Africa (Ethiopia mainly)
b.. Mike did get washed off the oars and out of the boat in one rapid
resulting in his shorts getting yanked off (and gone). He ran the rest of
the day without any shorts (Butt-naked)! NOT in the movie. Leave it up to your boating imagination to envision that scene.
c.. The actual boat he rowed (all set up) is at the Denver Museum of
Natural History - downstairs below the IMAX theater
d.. One of his oars was chomped on by a croc, it's on display at his store
e.. They also wrote a "Mystery of the Nile" book which will be available
for purchase at Down River very soon. See link above to buy it.
f.. 1st oarboat descent of the river
g.. Believed to be the 1st descent of the Northern Gorge
h.. Mike's not in any of the IMAX scenes but did lug the very heavy IMAX
camera and turned it on : )
i.. Mike is in the Mystery of the Nile book!